If you’re looking to dive into oysters more than the occasional buck-a-shuck, you’ll want to learn how to properly open an oyster.  But before they become a delicacy on the half shell, their shells are tightly closed by it’s adductor muscle, making it a tricky task to accomplish.  However, with the proper tools and tips at hand, enjoying an oyster won’t be reserved just for happy hour.

First and foremost, you’ll need the right tools.  This includes a proper oyster knife like the one seen here, and a towel or protective glove.  Since you are opening the oyster with a knife, protecting your hand is important.  Once you have these supplies, it’s just a couple of quick and easy steps.

Steps to Open an Oyster:

  1. Place the oyster on a hard surface with the cup facing upwards (remember – the juices in the oyster create a large part of the flavor profile, and you don’t want them spilling out).  Hold the oyster firmly in place with the help of your towel or protective glove.  The next steps will require a little elbow grease, but be sure to handle the oyster with care as to avoid spilling out any meat or liquor.
  2. Insert your oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster.  This may require a little wiggle action to pry the hinge open.  Once the knife is inserted through the hinge, twist the knife to break open the hinge.  At this point you may expect the oyster to pop open, but it’s adductor muscle is still causing the shell to close.
  3. In order to sever the adductor muscle, glide the oyster knife along the perimeter of the top shell, removing any muscle connection from the top shell.  After this step you should be able to discard the top shell.
  4. The last step is to sever the bottom adductor muscle in the same fashion.  With your oyster knife, remove any connection the meat has to the bottom shell.

There you have it, a shucked oyster!